apt-get source changes for packages maintained in VCS

Michael Vogt michael.vogt at ubuntu.com
Wed Aug 8 11:59:03 BST 2007

On Sat, Aug 04, 2007 at 05:46:17PM -0400, Scott Kitterman wrote:
> I recently filed https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/apt/+bug/129575 and 
> after some IRC discussion we agreed that his recent apt-get source changes 
> needed some broader discussion.
> As an example, I used apt-get source to download the source for pyspf (a 
> package I help maintain in Debian) and get the following warning:
> WARNING: 'pyspf' is maintained in the 'Svn' version control system at:
> svn://svn.debian.org/python-modules/packages/pyspf/trunk/
> Are you sure you want to continue [yN]?
> In my opinion there are two things wrong here:
> First, pyspf is not maintained in the Debian Python Modules Team svn.  The 
> Debian packaging for it is maintained there.  The actual Python module is 
> maintained on Sourceforge, so as written, it is incorrect.  Similarly, if I 
> am considering an Ubuntu revision for a package, the Debian SVN is not the 
> source for code that I'm patching, the Ubuntu source repository is.
> I can understand the desire to inform developers that there is a VCS (I think 
> that's sensible), but it is at most tangential to many use cases.  
> Which brings me to my second issue:
> Stopping and asking the user for confirmation is really overkill in this case.  
> The purpose of apt-get source is to get source from a repository.  The fact 
> that there may be other versions accessible elsewhere may or may not be of 
> interest to the user.

Thanks for bringing this up here. I changed the notice in my bzr tree
to match the below wording and removed the YnPrompt() for now. I agree
that it was not useful for package maintained on alioth with svn where
no good way for branching from there exists.

The rational for the change in the first place was to make it obvious
for people who modify packages that are maintained in a VCS that just
apt-get source, change, upload causes problems. It means the VCS gets
out of sync with the archive and that the maintainer have to manually
sync that by appying the debdiff. This was done in the past and lead
to a number of bugs when the merging with the archive was done at some
later point, the diff did not apply cleanly anymore etc.

So for package maintained with bzr in launchpad.net I would like to
see people using bzr to branch the package and then upload their
branch so that the maintainer can easily merge the changes. Having
this warning is a first step, I'm just afraid that without a prompt
the warning will be ignored. 

I understand that the tools are currently not perfect (also
bzr-buildpackage and bzr-unpack are quite good already) and that we
lack strong policies on the branch layout etc. But as more and more
package move towards maintainance in a VCS (hey gnome!) this problem
is something that will become more pressing in the future.


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